Important Guide to the Cost of Living in Istanbul


A Guide to the Cost of Living in Istanbul

Turkey is one of the very tempting and interesting places to travel to. Either for work, leisure, or long-term residence there; Turkey never fails to impress. One of the most attractive aspects of it is the affordable cost of living. Not to mention the variety of places you can live in, for example, there’s Istanbul, the most cosmopolitan city in Turkey. It combines modern residential areas and historical, natural, and cultural sites. It has high-quality schools for children and all-inclusive residential areas which makes it perfect for family long term stays.

There’s also Antalya which is well known for its warm climate, and amazing nature as it lies between the Mediterranean Sea and Taurus mountains. It’s amazing for businesses and investments as it’s well known for its markets, it can be great for long term stays as well due to its well-known services.

We must also mention the capital city of Turkey, Ankara. It’s the country’s second-largest city after Istanbul. It’s a very important industrial and commercial city that would be very convenient for starting a business or finding a job opportunity.

Overall, Turkey is one of the most convenient places to live in, not only for its amazing scenery and wide opportunities but most importantly for its low cost of living compared to other European countries. If you compare between the Turkish Lira and the Euro, you’d find that one euro can be exchanged for 9.5 liras. Let’s take a look at how much do different things cost and the general cost of living in different cities of Turkey, starting with Istanbul.

Accommodation cost of living in Istanbul 

Accommodation is always a challenge, especially when it comes to large central cities like Istanbul. There are many districts in Istanbul and you can find that the most expensive ones in order are Besiktas, Bakirkoy, Kadikoy, Beykoz, Sariyer, Adalar, Uskudar, Sisli, Zeytinburnu and Beyoglu.

On the other hand, the cheapest ones in order are, Beylikduzu, Avcilar, Sancaktepe, Silivri, Catalca, Sultangazi and Basaksehir.


The average rental prices for apartments range from 14-15 TL per meter square. The expensive districts can rise up to 25-30 TL per meter square and the cheap districts range from 9-12 TL per meter square. If you would like a furnished flat, then you’d add 25-30% of the price. You must also note that there’s an annual raise of about 30% in rental prices. 

Check this article on how to rent a place in Istanbul

Food and groceries cost of living in Istanbul

Food is actually one of the cheap affordable things in Istanbul, unlike accommodation. You can find here a detailed grocery list:

ItemPrice Average
Milk (1 liter)from 3.25 TL to 5.75 TL
White Bread (200 g)from 1.50 TL to 3.50 TL
Rice (1 kg)from 5.00 TL to 12 TL
Eggs (a dozen)from 6.80 TL to 15 TL
Cheese (1 kg)from 20 TL to 40 TL
Chicken (1 kg)from 15 TL to 30 TL
Meat (1 kg)from 50 TL to 80 TL
Apples (1 kg)from 4 TL to 8 TL
Banana (1 kg)from 7 TL to 15 TL
Oranges (1 kg)from 3 TL to 8 TL
Tomato (1 kg)from 4 TL to 9 TL
Potato (1 kg)from 3 TL to 7 TL
Onion (1 kg)from 3 TL to 8 TL
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)from 10.5 TL to 20 TL
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)from 14 TL to 25 TL
Cappuccino (regular)from 8 TL to 15 TL
Coke (0.33 liter bottle)from 2.50 TL to 7 TL
Water (0.33 liter bottle)from 1.00 TL to 1.50 TL
Water (1.5 liter bottle)from 1.50 TL to 3 TL
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)from 30 TL to 60 TL
Cigarettes 20 Packfrom 13 TL to 15 TL

Transportation cost of living in Istanbul

Luckily, transportation is relatively cheap in Istanbul and the best way to go around it. It is also very clean, convenient, and fast with a variety of vehicles and means. There are busses, sea busses, shared taxis, tram, metro buses, metros, cable cars, and ferries.

You can get an Istanbulkart for 6TL from the yellow vending machines distributed in many stations, or you can get it for 7 TL from kiosks. You can recharge it and use it as an easy way of paying. Without the card, you can pay up to 5-6 TL per ride, however, with the card you can pay 2.6-3.5 TL in most means of transportation. Using the Istanbulkart is an amazing way to lower the budget of transportation in your cost of living plan.

Click here to know all about transportation cost in details

If you have a car, 1 liter of gasoline would cost you around 7 Turkish liras. If you want to take a cab, the basic tariff would be 5 Turkish liras and for each kilometer you add around 3 Turkish liras

Utilities and bills cost of living in Istanbul

By comparing the household bills in Istanbul with other European cities, you would find that it is relatively cheap. Which is also an added plus to living in Istanbul and allows for a low cost of living budget. 

ItemAverage price per month
Electric bill from 130 to 170 TL
Water and sewagefrom 50 to 60 TL
Natural gas to heat up the apartmentfrom 600 to 1000 TL
telecommunications package (telephone- internet- TV)from 100 to 150 TL
GSMfrom 50 to 50 TL

You can also get monthly maintenance services that ranges from 50 to 500 TL per month depending on services provided.

Dining out cost of living in Istanbul

Dining out and trying cultural foods is a very important thing to add to your cost of living budget so that you get to experience important cultural sides of Istanbul through food, you can find here a price guide:

ItemPrice average
Meal in a cheap restaurantfrom 20 TL to 35 TL
Three-course Meal for 2 People in a mid-range restaurantfrom 75 TL to 150 TL
Fast Food Chainsfrom 18 TL to 25 TL
Meal in a luxurious restaurantfrom 50 to 100 TL
Turkish breakfastfrom 28 to 40 TL

Sports and other leisure activities cost of living

The average cost of a 1-month gym subscription is around 190 TL, this is based on prices gathered for around 18 fitness centers. Renting a tennis court to play with friends on weekends would cost around 100 TL an hour. If you fancy a movie, going to a cinema would cost you 55TL for 2 tickets.

Shopping in Istanbul

Istanbul is famous for its bazaars and local markets, which are convenient for buying fresh goods for convenient prices. You can also find clothes at very convenient prices there and you can also find many outlets that sell international brands at a such lower cost than the normal brand store. You can also find local soap, cleaning, and beauty products in bazaars and local markets. You can find Turkish wholesale stores like Bim or Sok all over Istanbul.

THE medical COST OF Living IN Istanbul:

Regarding treatment in Turkey, anyone who resides in a regular manner in Turkey can have a meaning and proof of identity or refugee identification card for Turkish government hospitals, and treatment in them is not free, but its prices are not high that ease cost of living in Turkey.

Medical care in Turkey is a relatively low cost, as governmental hospitals provide a discounted service for Turkey residents as long as they have proof of identity or refugee identification card. This would serve well in planning your cost of living in Istanbul.

All in all, Istanbul is an amazing place to live in, with its amazing nature, modern residential areas, and very convenient cost of living.

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